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Building Small Robots: Making One Cubic Inch Micro-Sumo Robots and Smaller

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Here are some details on building tiny robots and circuits. This instructable will also cover some basic tips and techniques that are useful in building robots of any size.

For me, one of the great challenges in electronics is to see just how small a robot I can make. The beautiful thing about electronics is that the components just keep getting smaller and cheaper and more efficient at an incredibly fast pace. Imagine if automobile technology were like that. Unfortunately, mechanical systems at this time, are not advancing nearly as fast as electronics.

This leads to one of the main difficulties in building very small robots: trying to fit in a small space, the mechanical system that moves the robot. The mechanical system and batteries tend to take up most of the volume of a really small robot.

pic1 shows Mr. Cube R-16, a one cubic inch micro-sumo robot that is capable of reacting to its environment with music wire whiskers (bumper switch). It can move and explore the perimeter of a small box. It can be remote controlled using a universal TV infrared remote control that is set up for a Sony TV. It can also have its Picaxe microcontroller pre-programmed with reaction patterns. Details begin on step 1.
 
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achand89 hours ago

Thats just awesome, A bluetooth controlled Mr Cube would be even better!

KickBuster2 months ago

robot.rar :P

49percentGood8 months ago
Would it be beneficial to use component leads as the wires? Much thinner so it would really clear up some space on the boards.
Bob291 year ago
The robot is really cool, especially how tiny it is.By the way - how about you make a sheeet metal body for it?
cool if it was remote control!!!
If you read the first part of the article, it states that it is in the introduction before step one. I quote:
pic1 shows Mr. Cube R-16, a one cubic inch micro-sumo robot that is capable of reacting to its environment with music wire whiskers (bumper switch). It can move and explore the perimeter of a small box. It can be remote controlled using a universal TV infrared remote control that is set up for a Sony TV. It can also have its Picaxe microcontroller pre-programmed with reaction patterns. Details begin on step 1.

Kobusswart2 years ago
Where can I find all the information for all the componets?
where did you get the l293 i canty find that at didgikey i only found aton of others like l293nd
You can find them on ebay for under $2 shipped. But it can take about 3 weeks because those are from china.
and the micro size solar cells are perfect Harness the power of light.
For use on power models and science projects, this fuel cell runs on sunlight using silicon as its semiconductor.

  • Efficient, 0.8x1.6" (2.4cm) cell
  • Delivers about 0.3-amps at 0.55VDC in full sunlight
What's in the box

  • Silicon solar cell 0.3-amps at 0.55VDC in full sunlight.
pRS1C-2160474w345.jpgpRS1C-2160474w345.jpg
30 miliamps at half a volt? We would need 4 to just power the chip, and the motors, Oh man, We would need more than would ever fit on a tiny robot...
.3 A is 300mA not 30
A great power source for this would be a tiny lithium ion rechargable battery pack. I pulled one out of an air hogs moto frenzy and it is truly tiny, about 1/8ths" thick and 3/8ths" long.
macman8083 years ago
could you please send me the schmatic through a private message?
kazmi443 years ago
can some one send me this robot pdf manual for free.plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
no money this month.
http://www.siliconsolar.com/admin/modules/graphs/display_product_image.php?id=1549
reject.robot
Tim Temple3 years ago
Or you can glue on some razor blade chips and let it cut its own way in. A cheaper form of battery would be a couple of cells from a little 9V battery.
sourcer3 years ago
is it able to avoid obstacles? can you leave your source code for your robot on this instructable? and also, can you draw a diagram with only one power supply version for us? thanks alot
That schematic only has one power source (alll grounds go to the same place). On top of that, the author specifically mentioned that using one power supply was a bad idea (step 3)
raykholo3 years ago
Can you talk about sparky's tank treads - Do they work well? I'm looking to build a similar bot but I am having trouble finding small enough tracks. The cheaper the better. Thanks in advance
Really nice project! I just have a few questions, though; would you happen to know if the PICAXE 18X can use two L293 Motor Drivers, since it has 8 output pins? I've been wondering if I could use two extra motors for this kind of project. Speaking of capacitors, would I be able to use a 100uf capacitor for this project, or is there a recommended range for the capacitor used in this project? I looked at the project board for this microcontroller, and there is a capacitor, as well as a few resistors; did you use the same resistor values as the ones from the project board on your project? I've been thinking about just buying the resistors, caps, and ICs from the board instead of buying the board. Please reply, and Thanks!
camo8884 years ago
in picture #7 where did you get the tracks for that robot
are they custom made or did u buy them ( if so where)
instread of using the wire  bumper switch you could get one from a computer mouse they usually have three switches that arent very big either so they dont take up much space
Winterz1175 years ago
ok do u really need to use the magned wire over normal wire? its really expensive...
if you take apart an electric motor youll find maybe about 10 feeet iof wire from the average size
mikey77 (author)  Winterz1175 years ago
You don't have to use magnet wire, but it makes it much easier to make really small robots. Magnet wire is not expensive, you can just take apart a relay and get the magnet wire that way. Generally, the smaller the relay, the thinner the wire.
The only problem with thin wires like magnet wire is that it is very thin. The thinner the wire, the more resistance and more inductance. this makes it harder to carry sufficient current through the wire, and creates more rf noise.
oh ok gotcha. Yeah I was looking for it on digitec and it was like 50$ a spool, so the spools must have held alot of wire. Ok thanks for the reply if inget a mini robot built I'll send u some pics!
yonray4 years ago
what kind of programming board (what's the name) did u use to programme the microcontroller!
jaxxster14 years ago
do you sell/give these away?
i think they are awsome but i dont have the parts do you mebe have a kit i could get?
raveeeee4 years ago
wht different task can i do wid dis bot ??/,cud u plz send me da programming for dis?
AndyGadget4 years ago
Lots of great ideas here. A microbot is on my list of projects, but so many ideas, so little free time! What are the sleeves you use on the motor shafts on Mr Cube Two?
Kopolis7775 years ago
Wait, if they made solar panels small enough could you use those instead of batteries?
just look at the input-output ratio the output should be 4.5 volts
To Kopolis777, solar panels may be enough to power it, but any size small enough to fit on the mini-robot wouldn't (most likely) be enough to power it... (Maybe it could recharge the batteries however....)
nah...that prob wouldnt work. 1-there are no rechargable batteries that small and 2-if u use regular batteries, they might ezplode. Now maybe someone could customly create a rechargeable battery that small...i would like to see that as an ible though...an electrical transformer could be used, but that problably wouldnt work
I've got an MP3 player, recorder, FM radio, 1GB memory storage device that is packed inside a one cubic inch package. It used a Lithium Polymer battery that is very thin and flat. Maybe one of these rechargeable batteries would do the job?

http://kokam.com/english/product/battery_main.html

Hope there's something usefull at that site for you guys.
Sincerely,
DIY-Guy
Ah yes, those things are surface mounted if we could surface mount this we could probably get it smaller than 2 CM
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